25 February 2020

How men and women divide the household money chores revealed - Royal London research

4 min read

 
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Becky O'Connor

Personal Finance Specialist

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Younger generations of women living with their partner still “hold the purse strings” but are also taking more responsibility than their partners for long term financial planning and are feeling more able to manage the household finances, according to research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Royal London, the mutual insurer.

  • Younger women living with their partner say they take more responsibility for long term financial planning than their partners (see finding 1 below)
  • Evidence of greater confidence in ability to manage the finances among younger women. Male partners are more likely than women to say their partners are better at managing money (see note 2)
  • Overall, women are more likely to control day-to-day household spending and short-term savings, but would like less responsibility for household finances (notes 3 and 4)
  • Spending is the money issue most likely to cause arguments, although in younger households, savings levels are as likely to cause argumentsAlmost a quarter (24%) of women have confronted their partner about their financial judgment compared to 20% of men – and younger women (35% of 18 to 34 year olds) are more likely than older women to have done so (16% of women aged 55+)

Women living with their partner overwhelmingly take control of two money chores – the day-to-day spending (the “purse strings”) (55 per cent of women versus 31 per cent of men living with a partner say it’s their responsibility), as well as the short-term savings (46 per cent of women versus 28 per cent of men).

However male partners are more likely to say that other financial tasks are their responsibility, including car, home and life insurance, investments, pensions, credit cards, personal loans, savings accounts and mortgages.

The two money chores that men and women are most likely to say they “share responsibility equally for” are saving for short-term goals and long-term financial planning – with 43 per cent and 44 per cent respectively of respondents saying that they and their partners are jointly responsible.

Table 1: Typical household ‘to-do’ lists based on most popular response for each category of money chore, according to the YouGov survey:

TO-DO LIST: MALE TO-DO LIST: FEMALE JOINT

Car insurance

Investments

Pensions

Credit cards

Personal loans

Savings accounts

Mortgage

Home insurance

Life insurance

Day-to-day spending

Short term savings

Current account

Long-term planning

Becky O’Connor, personal finance specialist at Royal London, said: “Younger women’s confidence in their money management skills seems higher than that of their mothers or grandmothers. It’s also good to see younger women saying they take responsibility for long-term financial planning and interesting that men tend to give female partners more credit for being better at managing money than vice versa.

“But even among younger generations, money chores still appear to be divided along gender lines, with women generally taking the daily spending and short term money jobs and men, the longer term decisions.

“The good news for all couples is the survey suggests that with age and experience comes more financial harmony, with respondents over age 55 more likely to say they are happy with the division of financial chores, perhaps as they have grown used to each other’s financial preferences and habits over time.”

Household money chores key findings

  1. Overall, more men (40%) than women (33%) say they mostly take sole charge of the long-term financial planning, but there is a generational shift towards more women taking responsibility for this money chore, with more women than men (38% v 36%) aged under 34 saying that it is their responsibility. Among older age groups from 35 up, men are more likely than women to say that long-term financial planning is only their responsibility.
  2. The proportion of women who think they are better than their partner at managing the finances is on the rise: 37% of women aged 55+ think that they are better at managing the finances than their partner, rising to 45% per cent of women aged 34 and under. On average men are also more likely to say that their partner is better at managing the finances.
  3. Women are more likely to say they have responsibility for the day-to-day spending (the “purse strings”) -55 per cent of women living with a partner versus 31 per cent of men living with a partner say it’s their responsibility); as well as the short-term savings (46 per cent of women versus 28 per cent of men).
  4. Too much responsibility for the household finances is causing more unhappiness in women than in men. 53% of Women unhappy with how the responsibility is shared said they would like less responsibility for managing the household finances, compared with 42 per cent of men.
  5. Spending is the issue most likely to cause arguments in a household, with 25% of respondents saying that spending is most likely to cause arguments, although in younger households, saving levels are as likely to cause arguments as spending
  6. Men are more confident than women when it comes to understanding their finances, budgeting and making reliable long-term financial plans, with confidence among men and women generally rising with age.
  7. Men are more likely than women to say they would still be in a good financial position if their current relationship came to an end (31% v 21%). Younger men and women feel the most insecure about the impact of splitting up on their finances.
  8. The older people are, the happier they are about the division of money chores.

Notes to Editors

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,323 adults who live with a partner. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 6th March 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
  • You can find the full research report here.

For further information please contact:

Becky O’Connor, Personal Finance Specialist

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life insurance, pensions and investment company in the UK, with assets under management of £138.9 billion, 8.6 million policies in force and 4,126 employees. Figures quoted are as at 31 December 2019.